CVMC Nurses……Giving Back to the Community through Health Outreach
Health First Center
Nurses working in the medical center’s Health First Center as well as nurse volunteers from throughout the organization touched the lives of an estimated 10,000 people at area events, health fairs and programs during 2008. They provided first aid coverage at the Greater Hickory Classic golf tournament and at all home games of the Crawdads. They also staffed a two-day Women’s Symposium that drew 4,000 to the Metro Center. Several CVMC representatives provided programs during the event. A Health First RN, Debbie Leger Scott, managed a full program of events and programs through the Safe Kids Coalition during 2008, distributing free or discounted car seats and bike helmets to those in need, conducting education programs for children and their parents through the schools and at community events. RNs Julie Collins, Marie Wimmer, Janet Shores, and Natalie Barkley provided prenatal and postnatal education for CVMC parents. Their program is the only Lamaze certified program in the area. Additionally, they started Lactation Station to offer new mothers reasonably priced breast pumps (rental and sales) and lactation supplies. Walk Catawba Valley, a walking program, continued throughout 2008, attracting more than 1,500 participating in the “get active” initiative.
The nursing staff at CVMC volunteers on a regular basis to help serve meals at the local Soup Kitchen. This is an opportunity for nurses to offer preventative health education to this population. The nursing staff offers blood pressure screenings, stroke screenings, & flu vaccines free of charge to the patrons. Nursing staff volunteering for this project, always leave feeling fulfilled and that that their efforts were appreciated.
Stacy Buff, an ER nurse, organized a hospital-wide initiative to prepare backpacks for the homeless in our community. The backpacks include such items as personal hygiene products, food staples/utensils and cold weather clothing and blankets. Each homeless person who completes a census form will receive a backpack. This incentive will increase the opportunity to properly count the number of homeless with the goal of increasing government funding for services for this population.
CVMC Parish Nurses (four paid and four volunteers) serve local churches in our community. During 2008, you could find them administering flu shots, checking blood pressures, facilitating health education programs, directing a grief share bereavement program, and serving on community boards including the Area Council on Aging, and Concerned Citizens of Ridgeview.
Imaging Center Nurse Navigator
Karen Meechum-Lodge, a new nurse navigator in the medical center’s Imaging Center/Breast Health Center, works closely with women with abnormal mammograms. This program was established to reduce anxiety by giving the patients educational materials and support as well as reducing the wait time for answers and necessary follow-up. This program also empowers patients to be part of the decision making process.
Cancer Center Resource Nurse
Peggy Messick, RN, Cancer Resource Coordinator, organized screenings ranging from free prostate exams/blood work to managing survivor support groups. She works closely with the American Cancer Society, Komen Race for the Cure, and the Cancer Committee of the Public Health Department. She also created a cancer resource center to assure that newly diagnosed patients find the information they need as well as find support as they proceed through treatment and recovery.
Sharon Smith, RN, MSN, works closely with area companies and the Public Health Department to schedule the medical center’s mobile mammography truck. The service completed a total of 3,415 mammograms including 403 screenings for the Catawba County Public Health Department during 2008.
Occupational/Employee Health Initatives
Health outreach nurses from the center conducted 2,192 screenings (audio, pft, color vision and respiratory fit tests), 12,024 vaccinations and 285 CPR classes for area businesses and CVMC employees.
Rehobeth Methodist Church Program
The parish nurses from Rehobeth approached the Health First Center to provide onsite programs monthly at their church in Southeastern Catawba County. Nurse volunteers and Health First Center staff have offered programs and conducted a Health Fair that included full blood work panels, flu/pneumonia shots by the Public Health Department and representatives offering health information from across CVMC.
Health Career Preceptorships
The nursing staff has also partnered with the county school system in providing health career students preceptorships, education, and bedside skill assessments. This not only enhances the school curriculum, but also gives the nursing staff an opportunity to recruit future healthcare workers.
The nursing staff has also had the opportunity to volunteer on an international level. Last year, our hospital hosted a presentation from a nurse practicing in Zambia, Africa at the Mwandi Christian Hospital. The staff was so moved by the poverty and lack of healthcare services available at this hospital that they decided to adopt Mwandi Christian Hospital and put forth an effort to make a difference. Through various fund raising events, our nursing self-governance teams were able to contribute $10,000 dollars to this rural and undeveloped healthcare facility. The nurses at CVMC will probably never see or touch a patient who benefits from their hard work, but the staff has comfort that through their efforts, very sick people will have access to improved healthcare.